Montreal 4, Boston 2
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 22, 2016
Where: TD Garden, Boston
BOSTON – (Wire Service Report) – Paul Byron was proudly wearing a Winter Classic T-shirt after Saturday night’s game at TD Garden.
“For me personally, it was a great moment last year and a lot of fun,” Byron said after his short-handed goal in the third period helped his Montreal Canadiens to a 4-2 victory over the rival Boston Bruins on Saturday night.
The Canadiens beat the Bruins 5-1 in the Jan. 1 Classic last season at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. It was one of few bright spots for Montreal.
“Last season was a little bit disappointing, but to be able to get back at it this year and show everybody the true Montreal Canadiens and certainly get off to the start we wanted to start with,” Byron said. “Playing a rivalry game against Boston, it doesn’t get much better than that on a Saturday night.”
Byron scored on a breakaway to give Montreal a 3-1 lead 7:32 into the third and, after Ryan Spooner answered with a Boston goal on the same power play, Torrey Mitchell scored an unassisted goal on pure hustle to restore the two-goal lead. It was Byron’s first goal of the season as he became the 13th Montreal player to score in the team’s 4-1 start.
“I think it says we have a lot of depth and we have a lot of support throughout the lineup,” Byron said. “It’s not just a one-line team. I think as a team we know that we need to play four lines and that’s when we have our most success.”
Brendan Gallagher, playing his usual feisty game that gets under the collective skin of his opponent, and Philip Danault also scored for the Canadiens (4-0-1).
The four goals supported a 19-save effort by Carey Price in his second game back after missing the first three with the flu — all this after being out from Nov. 25 on last season with a knee injury.
“It’s always great to get minutes in, good quality minutes,” Price said after raising his career record against the Bruins to 23-8-3. “The guys are playing really well defensively in front of me. Everybody’s rolling right now. It’s fun to watch.”
Dominic Moore also connected for the Bruins (3-2-0), who have given up the first goal in all five games this season. Boston’s Anton Khudobin, playing for the injured Tuukka Rask, made 23 saves in falling to 0-4 lifetime against Montreal.
Price, who returned Thursday night after missing the first three games with the flu — his first game since Nov. 25 of last season because of a knee injury — wasn’t severely tested as he improved to 23-8-3 lifetime against the Bruins.
“We made mistakes that were too costly,” said Boston coach Claude Julien. “We give up four goals to Montreal and have Price at the other end … you can’t afford to do that.”
The Bruins, with Khudobin pulled, had a 6-on-3 advantage with 55.6 seconds left but had only one shot on goal, Price making the save with 5.7 seconds remaining.
“It’s just a tough loss to be honest. Pretty much, tough loss,” said Khudobin, beginning his second tour with the Bruins after spending two season with the Carolina Hurricanes and one with the Anaheim Ducks.
Mitchell scored the final goal thanks to a Bruins giveaway that saw the puck wind up in front of the net. Taking a stick to the face that caused him to head straight to the dressing room with a cut over his eyes after the goal, he dove and backhanded the puck past Khudobin for his third goal of the young season.
“He’s fine,” said coach Michel Therrien. “… Lucky for him it’s not major. When you go to those dirty areas, you might get whacked at times. (But) you (can get) rewards, and certainly this guy is getting (his) reward.”
The latest renewal of the rivalry was a spirited and sometimes chippy affair that was scoreless until Gallagher scored 11:41 into the second period.
“I think there’s a lot of areas (where) we lost too many battles,” said Boston’s Patrice Bergeron.
NOTES: Bruins G Tuukka Rask missed his second contest in the first five games of the season with “general soreness.” The injury is believed to be to his leg. Zane McIntire was recalled from Providence of the American Hockey League to be Anton Khudobin’s backup. It is McIntyre’s first trip to the NHL. Rask is just 5-15-3 lifetime against Montreal. … Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said he didn’t have to tell his new players about the rivalry with the Bruins. “I don’t need to give a big speech; their teammates let them know!” he said. … D Greg Pateryn replaced healthy scratch D Mikhail Sergachev in the Montreal lineup. … Boston came in just 1-for-14 on the power play while the Canadiens were 18-for-19 on the penalty kill, including all 14 over the last three games. … The Canadiens host the Philadelphia Flyers Monday while the Bruins complete their three-game homestand Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild before leaving on a four-game trip.